A cult British cartoon and a very
loose Animated Adaptation
of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel of the same name.
Jim Hawkins' father, having been issued a death threat by pirates over the ownership of a treasure map, hands it to his son so he may search for the treasure and thus keep it out of the hands of the ruthless Long John Silver. With the assistance of old sea dog (literally
) Captain Smollett, Jim gathers a crew and finds his way to mysterious island, albeit with Long John's crew at his tail and the island's numerous supernatural forces hindering their search.
Alongside it's Funny Animal
premise, the show deviates greatly from the novel due to the heavy use of magical elements and a few extra cast additions (most notably Jane, a young hostage-turned-Mook
of Silver's that joins Jim on his quest). Noted for it's high quality animation, and a rather notable voice cast (including Dawn French and Hugh Laurie).
Two seasons were made within 1993-1995.
Not to be confused with the anime Animal Treasure Island
, a similar loosely based Funny Animal
Tropes employed include:
- Action Girl: Jane, though she does pick up the Distress Ball a lot, was obviously created with this in mind, so much it is her that defeats Pew in the finale.
- Adaptational Villainy: The show converts Long John Silver, one of the most morally dubious antagonists in fiction, into a straight played For the Evulz villain that antagonises Jim from the very start.
- Animation Bump: The show switched studios from Moving Images in the first to Fil-Cartoons in the second, the latter having a slightly cruder style, with stiffer animation and more cartoony backgrounds.
- Ascended Extra: In the original book, Pew was simply a blind former pirate who hands Billy Bones the Black Spot and ends up trampled to death by horses before the journey even begins. Here he's turned into a sinister Hidden Agenda Villain with magical powers who in the final episode gets his hands on a magical Amplifier Artifact lying among the treasure (his plan all along) and even manages to kill Captain Smolett.
- Bound and Gagged: The show seemed to have an almost unhealthy obsession with this. Almost every main character is tied up on a frequent basis, and sometimes for a lengthy portion of the episode. Even some of it's promotional artwork uses it prominantly.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Apparently Jane was such an insufferable example in her early life that when Silver kidnapped her for ransom, he ended up stuck with her. Comes off more as an Informed Flaw on screen, since while her bad attitude perks up at times, she's far more benevolent to the team most of the time.
- Butt Monkey: Squire Trelawney, with Jim and Jane having the occasional moments. Rat and most of the other underling pirates are this to Silver.
- Cannot Talk To Women: Played with. Jim usually acts very casual towards Jane, at one point she seems to get somewhat affectionate however, he makes a hasty exit.
- Death by Adaptation: Captain Smollett, who is supposedly killed by Pew in the final episode.
- The Devil Is a Loser: When Silver is sent to the Underworld following his death in the first season finale, he manages to rather handily outgambit the Laughably Evil Devil and his Minion with an F in Evil into giving him the means to escape. He gets sent back by the finale however.
- Died Happily Ever After: The ending to the episode "Emily", with her and her father ascending into the sky waving.
- Disney Death: Done in excess, albeit not always through the audience's perspective.
- Distress Ball: Done frequently with most of the main crew. Jane in particular switches irratically between being the most capable member of the team or being Jim's personal Distressed Damsel.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first season is noticably higher quality cosmetically, with changes in animation studios, voice actors and music to accommodate the lower budget afterwards.
- Faux Affably Evil: Long John to the highest degree. He has zero scruples and is merciless sadist, but has a palpable charm and wit. He was able to brown nose the devil himself to acheive his own means.
- Flanderization: Reversed for some characters. Ben Gunn went from a kooky rambling old hermit to more lucid and self preservational in later episodes. Similarly Jane started off more moody and sarcastic, but became more soft spoken and friendly.
- Funny Animal
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jane at her worst. Also Squire Trelawney, who is even Lampshaded as such in the first episode.
- Laughably Evil: Arguably the one remaining redeeming aspect of Silver's is that he retains a high amount of whimsy within all his bloodthirst. He and his pirate mooks often act as Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains.
- Lovable Coward: Squire Trelawney.
- Mood Whiplash: The show has surprisingly dark elements and a creepy amount of supernatural twists on the original story, though it's merged within a lot of cartoon slapstick.
- The Other Darrin: The first season used a fairly recognisable voice cast, many of which ended up replaced for the lower budget second season. Richard E. Grant was replaced by Rob Brydon as Long John Silver, while Corinna Powlesland replaced Juliet Stevenson as Jane. Perhaps the most unusual is the male John Hasler replacing the actress Dawn French as Jim Hawkins.
- Put On The Bus: Captain Smollett and Dr Livesey are left tending to the ship while the others search the island in Season Two. Silver's mooks are also Out of Focus.
- Recycled In Space: It's Treasure Island with Funny Animals, meets Lost.
- Replaced the Theme Tune: Both the orchestrated opening and closing themes are replaced with a vocal song in season two, due to a change in music composers.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Jim and Jane get many episodes near completely to themselves (both together and individually). Doubles as Smurfette Breakout for Jane.
- The Starscream: Long John will usually double cross anyone he strikes a bargain with. He tries to get rid of Pew a couple of occasions (this becomes complicated in the penultimate episode, since Pew intends to do just the same to him).
- Upper Class Twit: Squire Trelawney remains true to his novel rendition for the large part. His actor Hugh Laurie basically reuses his George persona suitingly enough.